I have only read one of Anna Quindlen’s books before, Black and Blue, way back in 1998 and remember loving it. I was excited to get a chance to read Miller’s Valley, as I have heard amazing thing about Quindlen’s books in the intervening years. Sadly I just could not connect with the narrator, Mimi Miller. Mimi is the youngest in her family and she walks us through the big moments in her life from the age of ten to sixty-five. She lives in a small town named Miller’s Valley that is living under the constant strain of eminent domain, as the government wants to divert a river through the valley. Seen from the eyes of an almost impartial observer, the residents of the small town, their quirks and flaws are on full display.
The plot of Miller’s Valley was interesting. Full of unique residents, the premise holds a lot of promise. Anna Quindlen’s writing was soft and slow, like a warm breeze on a summer day. She was invoked a feeling of a slow waft with each chapter. The pacing had some issues; there were sudden time jumps as Mimi aged and it always took me a few seconds to ascertain what time the story was now in. The world built was strong as the town was so small and Mimi’s descriptions laid it out well. The emotions were lacking to me. I could never connect with Mimi as she was so impassive as an observer. The characters also fell flat to me, as I could not connect with any of them Mimi held everyone at an arms length which made the reader do the same.
I did not dislike Miller’s Valley, I just could not connect with the narrator. I enjoyed the plot and the world built was fantastic, but I have a hard time with a read if I can’t connect. The slow observations just did not resonate. I may need to go back to Quindlen’s earlier writing to get that strong emotional tie I felt in Black and Blue.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.